Judgement (II)

Notes of a Hermetic Conversation on January 16, 2018

Tarot Conversation Jan 16, 2018

The Judgement

Phillip and Joel were present

We spoke the first stanza of the Foundation Stone Meditation in order to invoke the Heavenly Father, who is honored by the “gap day” of the New Moon, prior to a new Lunar Month’s beginning.

We then spoke the Lord’s Prayer through the Sephiroth, and the Divine Alphabet with references to the Grail Knight’s Practice up through the 20th Letter, Resh.

– Comparing 18 (The Moon) and 20 (The Judgement). Before we had characterized each as a portal of some kind. When we look at 18, 19, and then 20, we see that 18 is a portal of suction; it is drawing everything in the picture towards it. This could bring to mind the more hypnotizing/voodoo aspect of the card, or that of Jahweh drawing towards himself all of the error below. Then we have 20, which is an outpouring. Something is radiating out of this angelic portal. It is not hypnotizing, it is bracing, awakening to the highest degree. In between, we have 19, The Sun, which is in balance, harmonizing the sucking quality of The Moon with the radiating quality of The Judgement.

The Moon has more of the feeling of Good Friday (or the sickness and death of Lazarus)

The Sun has more the feeling of Holy Saturday (or the stages of healing leading up to the raising of Lazarus)

The Judgement has more the feeling of Easter Sunday (or the Raising of Lazarus)

– The height of the tomb is odd – it is at the waist level of the parents. We said before that it is like a witness box. But in the context of death – is this a casket on display? Was this a viewing? Or was their a kind of foreknowledge, conscious or otherwise, of the possibility of a miracle? Was the casket placed in a specific place at a specific time in order to enact a ritual?

Was this a sarcophagus (implying an initiation), only in public, like the death and resurrection of Lazarus (and unlike the resurrection of Christ)? There seems to be an intentionality to the arrangement, and not just a normal gravesite.

Is the upper portion (the Angel) invisible to the actors in the card? Do they only feel invisibly the spirit acting, an activity they are calling forth through their presence?

– In The Sun, the two youths stand in front of a wall that goes up to their waists. Whereas in The Judgement, the two parents are standing behind a wall/tomb that goes up to their waists.

– The mother/woman seems to be more prominent than the other figures. She is taller, broader. The risen one leans in her direction.  The men have hills crowning them, but she is on the level of a hill herself. The risen one could be the Fool, is she the World? The banner is over the mother, the trumpet is over the son. (This portion of the Divine Alphabet/Grail Knight’s Practice we have been associating with the sixth saying from the Cross:  “Son, behold thy Mother; Mother, behold thy Son.”)

She is united with the landscape, with nature. She is like the Star in this regard, who we also noticed was very tied up with the landscape and surroundings. Both are nude, have blue hair.

– Are the witnessing parents affected almost equally to the risen one?

– The 20th Arcanum is Resh, the path from Power (generative organs) to Kingdom (Earth/feet) and vice versa. This is, in a way, the end of the sequence properly speaking. The Fool runs upward from Kingdom (Earth/feet) to Force (right hip) and The World runs downward from Radiance (left hip) to Kingdom (Earth/feet). They are like epilogues or appendices, elaborations on the proper ending of Judgement.

The verse at the beginning of the 20th Letter/Meditation from John 5. We were asking last time how are Judgement and Resurrection the same thing? When are they the same thing? This has to do with the last things, with the final act:  the resurrection of the dead, some to eternal glory and some to everlasting torment. The final resurrection is at the same time the final judgement of all things by Christ. We might ask, what is the result in this particular case that we are looking at in the 20th Arcanum?

This makes us think of Jupiter evolution. Just as for the Earth, all (automatic) natural processes are nothing other than the result of the conscious deeds of the Angels on Old Moon, so will Jupiter be the sum total of the thoughts, words, feelings, and deeds of human beings, only transformed into Nature/Law/Environment. All will be resurrected, either to glory or torment.

– Has the work of the father in this image already been done? Is that why he is off to the side a bit? Maybe the hills are like crowns. The mother has not yet been crowned, her work remains to be done. Her time is still to come.

The Fool is like the completed state of Resurrection (the risen one in the card). 

The World is in an unfinished state, still in potential, still has to pass through further stages of creation/manifestation/refinement.

– Last month we were looking at the sequence 1, 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, 19 as the Path of Yod, of Mysticism. But it is more than this. It is the path from Mysticism (The Magician) to Gnosis (The Sun). In between (4, 7, 10, 13, 16) are the stages of purification that one must undergo in order to bring one’s mystical experience to consciousness. We might say that The Sun = High Priestess, is Gnosis in action. We might say that The Sun is an image of the internal state of the High Priestess.

Now we are looking at 2, 5, 8, 11, 14, 17, 20:  the Path of the first He. This leads from Gnosis (High Priestess) to Sacred Magic (The Judgement). We might say that The Judgement = The Empress, is Sacred Magic in action. We see that The Judgement is in many ways a transformation of the aspects of the Empress.

When we read the 20th Letter-Meditation, he speaks of the Akasha Chronicle as the sum total, the entire memory of the cosmos. And that in the trumpet blast of resurrection, the entire Akasha Chronicle is condensed into one word, “a single magical sound.” (page 570). Here we have the journey from the High Priestess, who is reading and writing the Book, the Akasha Chronicle, to the Judgement, where this entire Book is condensed into one magical deed.

Is there a crisis point in this path? We can notice several in the Path of Yod.

With the Path of Yod, we begin with the simple and immediate experience of Mysticism in The Magician. Then with The Emperor there is the first inkling that not all is right in the subconscious (below the belt). In The Chariot, these forces are grappled with. In The Wheel of Fortune, they fly out of control and subsume us. Death is the last resort of surgically removing that which does not belong within us, and the Tower of Destruction creates an open space into which Gnosis can descend. Then in The Sun, we have a dialogue. Dialogue, spiritual hearing, is the essence of Gnosis, even if it is only a dialogue with oneself. All conscious reflection involves a form of dialogue. This purging of the subconscious is like the cleaning of the dirty mirror or the stilling of the lake. If the reflecting instrument is impure, then the mystical content cannot properly come to consciousness. So the theme of the Path of Yod is that of the direct mystical experience leading to a process of purification so that the mystical experience can come to consciousness. When we finally come to The Sun, there is no struggle, no constraint. Activity in harmony.

With the Path of Yod, this is a pretty strong emphasis on batons, arrows, swords, etc.

With the Path of the first He, we have displayed the process of condensing the cosmic memory/knowledge acquired through Gnosis into a magical word. This path has more vessel-like objects:  book (2), disciples (5), scales (8), lion (11), cups (14, 17). There is a gradual giving up of the masculine sword/baton (still present in 5 and 8), into cups (14, 17). Finally, in The Judgement, we have the Trumpet, which is like the sword combined with the cup. This leads us directly into the scepter of the Empress. And we spoke in length in our previous conversation about the strong correspondences between aspects of this card and that of The Empress.

– Looking at numerology. How does the sequence 18, 19, 20 relate to the sequence 9, 10, 11 (Hermit, Wheel of Fortune, Force)?

these three qualities seem to apply to both sets:


The Moon comes at the end of a series of impasses or struggles; it is like the ultimate impasse before the breakthrough that occurs when we reach The Sun. On the other hand, the Hermit is the end of a long series of soul-archetypes, of the development of different aspects of the individual (microcosm) before breaking through into the crisis of confrontation with the macrocosm in the Wheel. In The Hermit, we are dealing with unresolvable antinomies, and in the Wheel, we see them playing out in a vast unfolding.

They are inversions in a way; the Hermit is the pinnacle of individual development before mass confusion; the Moon is the pinnacle (or nadir, we could say) of individual confusion before mass harmony. The antinomy is finally resolved. 

The confrontation with Macrocosmic forces in the Wheel of Fortune leads to an experience of Cosmic Purity, of Pure Nature (Life) that has been held back. Force is a kind of Goddess, she is not standing on the earth, she is only in the heavens.

Entering into the harmonizing forces of The Sun, on the other hand, leads to an earthly experience of this same force of Life – a renewing of the purity that once existed on earth through the force of resurrection. 

Just as there is a “flip of the switch,” no gradual transition from Hermit to Wheel, the same can be said of the transition from Moon to Sun. Suddenly the crisis is resolved, there is no gradual recovery.

The Moon is the opposite of The Judgement:  suction vs radiation. The Sun holds the balance between these two.

The Hermit is the opposite of Force:  old age/experience/knowledge vs innocence/purity/life-force. The Wheel of Fortune holds the balance between these two.

There is a Lunar Eclipse in 18. The Sun is blocked by the Earth. In 19, the Sun is unveiled. With the Judgement, it is like we are being shown what lies behind the Sun, that which the Sun eclipses/occludes. A force mightier than the Sun to the same degree the Sun is mightier than the Moon. We can ask this question, what is the Sun eclipsing?

There is a theme of investigating the darkness of the unconscious (both the Hermit and the Moon), reintegrating it into the whole and redeeming it by bringing it to a higher level. 

The Sphinx has this same perceptive awareness within Nature, to a Macrocosmic degree. It plays the same role as the Hermit (a Guardian of the Night). It wields an awareness through which Nature can rise above its lower drives, recognizing and healing a forgotten split.

The Sphinx is mute. It plays the role of the Hermit on a divine scale.

The virtue of The Moon according to Robert is “Raising the Subconscious to Consciousness.” We could say that the grappling with antimonies that is discussed in the Letter/Meditation on the Hermit is exactly this. 

9/18 = recognition of the problem (cognizing evil)

10/19 = a solution is offered from Above (Sun/Sphinx). Inspiration.

11/20 = the solution is put into action

11/20 show what is being searched for, what needs to be drawn out, released.

9/18 = microcosmic problem

10/19 = macrocosmic context

11/20 = action

– Phillip’s difficultly over the years to move out of concentrated meditation into a free-flow of dream images that one can still remain awake and aware within. Joel has the same problem. It is easy to concentrate, but no images arise, no access to the continual dream life that Carl Jung describes. One comes close, and then a divide occurs, it becomes one-dimensional rather than immersive.

Phillip experienced a guided meditation. He was told to “step behind his body and what do you see?” On the right, an animalesque woman. Then a vision of a body in x-ray, with hotspots. Probably his own body. Disturbing. Then he went to sleep and had imaginations that couldn’t be retained. But he felt refreshed.

The leap from 19 (The Sun) to 2 (High Priestess) is a lot to take in. How is she living so completely in the imagination, like Estelle is able to? How can we develop ourselves to vividly enter that realm?

Maybe what we’re dealing with is a contrast between the path of Shepherds and of Magi that is described in the 19th Letter-Meditation. The Shepherd experience is vivid and direct, an act of grace from the Angels above. But the Magi experience only operates at the intuitive level. One must use one’s effort to interpret and come to conclusions based on a more or less vague intuition (guiding star). We are Magi, Estelle is a Shepherd. Joel has in one sense always been envious of those who experience the Shepherd path. It seems on the surface as though a greater degree of certainty is offered by this path. But in fact, it would be easier to be hoodwinked due to an over-reliance on visionary content. With the path of the Magi, certainty is something one has to work for, and because of this, in the end one is absolutely certain—an ongoing dialogue between one’s effort and the intuition makes things ever clearer.

This brings us directly to a massive content in the 20th Letter-Meditation, on page 568-569. Here Tomberg is describing the gradual fleshing out of the Akasha Chronicle; that no one has a complete vista, and each seer fills in gaps in knowledge/observation out of their own intellect and personality. Some only experience the Akasha on the level of sleep/dream consciousness, and don’t bring images of it into waking life – they bring impulses (he uses the example of Leibniz). 

This goes right into Joel’s observation months ago that we are each “eyes on the wing of the Cherubim.” That each of us has a particular set of spiritual capacities and perceptions that no one else has, and only if we can speak the common language can we share and fill in the gaps with each other. We are all engaged on fleshing out the tableau of the Akasha. And it is in this capacity specifically that Tomberg warns against founding a society, not against founding societies in general. This unfolding tableau must remain an organic, living process.

The challenge of the path from High Priestess (2) to Judgement (20). How do I move my experience of the Akasha, my personal experience of reading in the Night, from an inner realm to an outer realm (an activity, and an integration with other perspectives of the Akasha). 

The Path of Yod (from Mysticism to Gnosis) = a path of moral purification in order to be an adequate vessel. Is this the Michael School? No, this is the School of Archangel Jesus, of Christ. His is the School of Morality/Conscience [Edit January 2021: nowadays I would say “School of Christ” is the Urielic school of morality/conscience, whereas the “School of Archangel Jesus” is the Raphaelic school of healing—two distinct realms, not identical]. 

The Path of the first He (from Gnosis to Magic) = path of spiritual perception, of Reading in the Night. This is the School of Sophia, and of John. Until we walk the first path, there is nothing to read in the second path, because we have not “cleaned the mirror” yet.

Will the 3rd Path, the Path of Vau (from Magic to Hermeticism) be the School of Michael?